With 30 years of experience in the field of modeling, Carol Sterling knows the ins and outs of the industry. Among other things, she bears the distinction of being the first African-American model at del Corral Model & Talent Agency in the 1970s. With more than a decade of experience as a professional hair-care executive, her husband Eric Sterling is versed in the nuances of sales and promotion. And for the last three years, the Sterlings, who own and run 1st Step Consulting Agency 4 Models & Talent (1925 Corporate Square, Suite D, Slidell; 985-649-0561; www.1ststepconsulting.com) have been sharing their respective skills with people interested in modeling or acting careers.
"Modeling is a luxury business," says Carol, a New Orleans native who began modeling at the age of 12. "Self investment is vital. You have to have some kind of education in the business so you can make the right choices. Models are made, not born."
The agency aims to provide that education by instructing, motivating, and directing clients over the age of 10 so that they have a basic understanding of the industry and its employment opportunities. It offers consultations and workshops designed to address individual needs and interests, helps with composite cards with pictures to show potential employers how they look, and equips them with the most valuable tools of all: confidence, persistence, determination and a thick skin. The Sterlings' 1st Step -- which helps place clients in everything from TV and films to billboards, commercials and fashion shows -- also provides their clients exposure, a key ingredient in every model and actor's career track. Last April, the agency took 11 models to the annual Model Association of America International competition in New York and all came back with wins.
At home, 1st Step will hold its own model and talent showcase Aug. 17 at the Hilton Riverside, allowing editors and other decision makers to scout the area's talent.
Once clients have a working knowledge of the business, 1st Choice 4 Models (985-781-1552), the Sterling's exclusive agency, picks up where 1st Step Consulting leaves off by providing photo submissions to its local and national client base.
"We give you all the tools you need to get launched," says Carol. "It's up to you to take the tools and make them work."
- Carol and Eric Sterling make it their business to prepare clients for careers in modeling and acting.